The black westerner experience?


#1

I am interested to get the black Westerner’s perspective on Taiwan. Do you find more people wanting to touch your hair or get defensive because you get stared at more often than other foreigners? Was it easy for you to land a job or did you go through a series of rejections before finally getting something because you didn’t fit the description of the Taiwanese idea of a Western teacher?

I was aware of the race thing here so I started looking for a job six months before coming and after receiving loads of praise and “we really like your resume” they asked the question of death: “Can you send a photo?” and then disappeared off the face of the earth when they realized that not only did I not have blue eyes or blonde hair (I joked about getting colored contacts and a bleach job before coming), but I was (gasp!) black. It took almost all six months to get even my first interview lined up.


#2

Are non-blacks welcome to post here?


#3

I’ve lived in places that are 10x’s worse than Taiwan. I find in general that the residents of Taipei do not bother me; they’re by no means rude and the stares are few and far between in comparision to the mainland. As far as employment -my employer/part owner is a foreigner. Needless to say , I wouldn’t take my chances in seeking other emplyment . And, if people do stare, well so what, I can’t help the fact that I’m absolutely fabulous. (so I’d like to believe)

Monkey, do you have something relevant to say? If so, by all means.


#4

If you are not from NE Asia you get ‘the look’. I’ve been here for a long time and it gets better every day. Talk to others, especially from S. America and the Mid-East, but also other westerners of all hues; we are all in the same boat. Learn some Chinese and try to fit in as best as possible and you should be alright- is Patrick Stewart still working at ICRT?


#5

Am curious. In Japan, many Japanese women date and marry Black men, and the women who do so are unfairly called YELLOW CABS, since they are said to wait outside US army bases like yellow cabs.

Do this phenomenon exist here in Taiwan? IS such a term of yellow cab ever used here. ?


#6

Maybe not a term specifically, but I think you would encounter that kind of racial jealousy. Whites encounter it too. Hell, I’ve heard of it being directed towards foreign born ethnic Chinese. But I don’t think its even close to being the majority who feel that way. It seems more isolated incidents. Although I bet a lot more talking goes on behind peoples backs.


#7

In case you didn’t read it, I posted an experience I had with an African friend of mine, in another forum and thread:

Christos

I posted this under the name Christos. If you scroll down the page you’ll find it.

I post this link here, because I think the incident I describe shows just how ugly things can get here for black people. Before flamers start lighting their torches, please know that I acknowledge that this was an extreme incident, and in nature, not unique to Taiwan.


#8

I found this article the other day. It gave me some interesting insights into Asian-American, and perhaps through trickle down, Taiwanese attitudes towards African-Americans:

Black Racism


#9

Actually, they show racism toward anyone darker than them. Filipinos, Malaysians, Thais, Indians, anyone. It’s not necessarily westerners of African descent. I know of Indians who could not get a job teaching English here. I know of a woman who is African and is practically a celebrity in her city in the south of Taiwan. I am just wondering about the personal experience of non-caucasian foreigners here. Any by the way, Monkey, as the original poster of this thread, I welcome your posts.


#10

Had a good (if quiet and very controlled, under the circumstances) laugh the other day at a press conference for the upcoming National Geographic show “The Journey of Man”. The foreign expert Ph.D had presented tons of genetic evidence that everyone, EVERYONE, is descended from people who originally lived in Africa and were (gasp!) black. The guy has been all over the world collecting DNA and tracing stuff in it. The Chinese reporters listened very attentively to the evidence, looked at the pictures of hominid skulls and so forth, traced the routes of human migration from Africa with their fingers (and each route was labeled with genetic marker numbers substantiating it) and then asked (multiple times, multiple reporters!):

Is there ANY chance we are not descended from Africans, but rather Europeans?

As if the Europeans aren’t descended from the people in Africa, fer gawd’s sake!! (Were they listening??) But they were definitely unhappy with the answer! Get OVER it!!

Anyway, one thing that this expert pointed out was that skin color can change from the darkest possible black to the lightest possible white in a population in just 2000 generations, so what is there to get so het up about anyway?

(I think the show will air on 12/15 if you want to check it out. Pretty interesting stuff, really.)


#11

I can feel the discrimination here in Taiwan. I’m Chinese Indonesian. First time I came here, I apply for teaching in Cram school and English Courses for Kids. But I won’t even get an interview reason being I’m not white nor I’m from North America.

Hate this facts about Taiwan. But I just have to live with it. The best job I got was waitering for a almost a month before I finally got a job at a small internet startups. That gives me the idea of office life here in Taipei and eventually lead me to a better job now.

My personally view is, most people are racist. (check the definition of the word racist in your dictionary.) Even I myself am sometimes racist. In South east asia, Chinese from different origin will discriminate eachother based on their origin or dialect spoken. In Indonesia, Javanese discriminates Batak, Manadonese discriminates Padangers, etc. ad nauseum ad infinitum.

Taiwanese on the other hand loves two things-Anything American and anything Japanese. Now Anything Korean is added to the list now that the Korean TV series and musics invades Taiwan.

Admit it, we’re all human, and we’re all racist one way or another.

regards

anton xie


#12

I disagree. A racist believes that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others. I think there are many people who believe that there are other, more important factors, such as culture, that account for differences in human character.

Being human does NOT equate with being racist.


#13

Yeah? Get this: I know a couple Taiwanese who love anything French… :unamused:


#14

An excellent book, but long out of print - “The Star Raft: China’s Encounter with Africa” by Philip Snow. 2nd-hand copies can be found via the internet.


#15

[quote=“antonxie”]I can feel the discrimination here in Taiwan. I’m Chinese Indonesian. First time I came here, I apply color=red[/color] for teaching in Cram school and English Courses for Kids.
But I won’t even get an interview reason being I’m not white nor I’m color=red[/color] from North America.
Hate this facts color=red[/color] about Taiwan. But I just have to live with it. The best job I got was waitering for a almost a month before I finally got a job at a small internet startups (sic). That gives me the idea of office life color=red[/color] here in Taipei and eventually lead me to a better job now. My personally color=red[/color] view is, most people are racist. (check the definition of the word racist in your dictionary.) Even I myself am sometimes racist. In South east asia, Chinese from different origin color=red[/color] will discriminate eachother based on their origin or dialect spoken. In Indonesia, Javanese discriminates Batak, Manadonese discriminates Padangers, etc. ad nauseum ad infinitum. Taiwanese on the other hand loves color=red[/color] two things-Anything American and anything Japanese. Now Anything Korean is added to the list now that the Korean TV series and musics invades color=red[/color] Taiwan. Admit it, we’re all human, and we’re all racist one way or another.[/quote]

Anton, do you realize how many English mistakes you make in your writing? I’m not talking about typographical errors, I’m talking about a poor command of the language. Now everything is relative, and maybe in Indonesia you’re a star. However, I wouldn’t give you an interview if your resume had even one English error in it. And if your writing in any way reflects your spoken English, you would be pegged as a non-native speaker in a flash. (You had me at “Hello”) :slight_smile: Maybe it’s not racism. Maybe it’s you. :frowning:


#16

A few weeks ago I had a nine year old kid whose English was pretty good ask me “Why are you so black? Are you in the sun a lot?” :shock: was my first reaction then :laughing: . I explained to him how my mother is white and my father is black. Then he said something like aren’t all people from the U.S. white? So I did me best to explain it to him. I enjoyed that.

My buddy just came to visit not to long ago. He’s “fully” black and it was obvious that he got more looks then I do.

Except for extreme cases I think a persons personality can over come the race thing.


#17

[quote=“Maoman”][quote=“antonxie”]I can feel the discrimination here in Taiwan. I’m Chinese Indonesian. First time I came here, I apply color=red[/color] for teaching in Cram school and English Courses for Kids.
But I won’t even get an interview reason being I’m not white nor I’m color=red[/color] from North America.
Hate this facts color=red[/color] about Taiwan. But I just have to live with it. The best job I got was waitering for a almost a month before I finally got a job at a small internet startups (sic). That gives me the idea of office life color=red[/color] here in Taipei and eventually lead me to a better job now. My personally color=red[/color] view is, most people are racist. (check the definition of the word racist in your dictionary.) Even I myself am sometimes racist. In South east asia, Chinese from different origin color=red[/color] will discriminate eachother based on their origin or dialect spoken. In Indonesia, Javanese discriminates Batak, Manadonese discriminates Padangers, etc. ad nauseum ad infinitum. Taiwanese on the other hand loves color=red[/color] two things-Anything American and anything Japanese. Now Anything Korean is added to the list now that the Korean TV series and musics invades color=red[/color] Taiwan. Admit it, we’re all human, and we’re all racist one way or another.[/quote]

Anton, do you realize how many English mistakes you make in your writing? I’m not talking about typographical errors, I’m talking about a poor command of the language. Now everything is relative, and maybe in Indonesia you’re a star. However, I wouldn’t give you an interview if your resume had even one English error in it. And if your writing in any way reflects your spoken English, you would be pegged as a non-native speaker in a flash. (You had me at “Hello”) :slight_smile: Maybe it’s not racism. Maybe it’s you. :frowning:[/quote]

Maoman…
I realized now:) Thank you for pointing out. Now I’m thankful that I didn’t get the interview. Otherwise I might have ruined some kid’s future:)

You’re the best. The most literate poster on segue. I’m amazed with your command in Latin too.

regards,

ax
Everything in Latin sounds profound.


#18

Anton your command of English is not much worse than many so called native teachers in Taiwan…if you were white you would probably have got a position no problem. Doesn’t stop French Canadians or Afrikaan South Africans does it.


#19

If you look at the appalling English posted by people who are apparently native speakers (and English teachers) on that dreadful forum Tealit (which I browsed in desperation when Segue was down), you’ll see that Anton’s English is at least as good as much of what was written there. And he writes English far better than many (if not most) of the Taiwanese teaching English in primary and secondary schools. So I’d say he’s pretty well qualified to teach English at a basic level, though a private school with high fees and exacting standards (not too many of those here!) would reasonably want someone with flawless English if they could find such a person willing to accept the salary on offer.


#20

Hey, there are lots of people who speak poor English, of course Anton isn’t alone. I’m just suggesting that maybe racism wasn’t the only reason Anton was having employment difficulties. Another thing to consider is that a school would not legally be able to offer a visa to an Indonesian national, as you have to come from an English-speaking country to qualify. It doesn’t matter if you are a Dutch caucasian, or an ebony-black African-American, the question of whether or not a teacher is even eligible to work and qualify for a working visa is beyond the control of schools. That ain’t racism, that’s the government choosing to discourage non-native speakers like Anton from becoming English teachers. A bitter pill, I know.